Lately I’ve been using Triberr to expand the reach of my social media posts. How it works is, you join a group (called a “tribe”). You share posts from other members. Other members share your posts. I get a couple things out of this. For one, I get fresh content for my social media accounts. For another, my own content gets shared out to more people that it otherwise might. Win/win.
Triberr isn’t perfect, though. For one thing, it has a complete lack of respect for the browser back button. For another thing, it’s almost impossible to get into a tribe. Most users seem to use Triberr as part of a set-it-and-forget-it social media strategy — it’s not uncommon to see “XXX logged in 3 years ago.” As a result, many tribes are not
actively maintained. I fixed that by creating my own tribe. Viola!
The second problem I had was that my posts looked lame. Triberr reads the RSS feed of your blog, but it was not set up for the RSS format used by WordPress.com blogs. My posts came through in plain text only (no formatting) and no images — not even the Featured Image!
It turns out that Triberr reads through the post and uses the first image as the post preview. Of course, when it is getting only plain text there are no images. Furthermore, in WordPress the Featured Image (which would be perfect for the post preview) is not a part of the post itself, but saved in another XML element. So the information is all there, but Triberr doesn’t know how to use it. My posts come up with no image.
There is a Triberr plugin for WordPress, but I use a free WordPress.com blog so I can’t use plugins. That sucks! I want my money back! Oh, wait…
Out of desperation, I turned to Zapier.com. Zapier allows you to make Zaps, little web applications, that can automate online tasks. You don’t have to have extensive programming skills, and they offer a free account.
A Zap consists of two parts — a Trigger and an Action. The Trigger is the input. Something happens which causes (triggers) the Zap to run. The Action, then, is what happens when the Trigger is hit. Zapier includes a crap load of possible premade Triggers and Actions from a wide range of popular web sites, technologies, and protocols. There are literally hundreds.
For my Zap, the Trigger was a new WordPress post. Of course Zapier has a WordPress App. You simply select the App from the list and enter your WordPress login. There are a variety of actions you can trigger from. I chose to trigger off of a “New Post.”
For this Zap, my Action uses the built in Zapier RSS App. This App creates an RSS feed and adds a new item whenever my Trigger is fired. The RSS App has a number of fields to define the new item. For Feed Title I just typed in “Walker Long’s Blog,” because it’s my blog.
You can also use info that was collected by the Trigger, which is labeled “Step 1.” Just click on the little List+Plus icon in the upper right of any text area. This will pop up a list of all the fields that Zapier read in Step 1. For the Item Title text area, I found a Step 1 field called “Post Title,” which contained the title of my WordPress post. For Source URL I chose a field called “Link” that gave the URL of my blog post. That was easy!
Even more powerful, you don’t have to just use the Step 1 fields as they come. For this Zap, I wanted to make sure my WordPress Featured Image was shown in Triberr. I knew that Triberr would l use the first image it found in the post, so I simply inserted the WordPress Featured Image at the beginning of the Content area, before anything else.
The Featured Image URL is in the “Post Thumbnail” field from Step 1. To make sure Triberr understands that this is an image, I wrapped the image path in an HTML Img tag. Next is the text of the post from the “Post Content” field. This is, luckily enough, is in HTML format.
Then I went to my Triberr settings and added a new blog using the feed URL from my Zap. The results aren’t instantaneous – you have the Triberr update rate on top of the Zapier update rate now. But when they do eventually show up, my posts have snazzy images!
Do you have an easier way? Or another cool use for Zapier? Let me know in the comments!